Thursday, 30 September 2010

London Brewers Alliance - Video

As part of the recent London Brewers Alliance Showcase, a short video was filmed to add something different to the event. Although it was streamed throughout that evening and has been plugged on various websites since, there is a chance that one or two have not had a chance to see it.

It is my opinion that this adds a huge amount to the character of the London brewing scene by building up the various personalities involved. It helps get behind the pumpclip and builds an empathy with the hard working brewer. It also helps show the diversity that we now have in London, large and small, central and rural, brewpub and micro, keg, bottle and cask.

I think this video is another step towards rebuilding a following behind London's beers and it is well worth taking ten minutes to watch it.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Don't buy an ipad, it keeps you out of the pub

Over the next day or two, I am hoping to bring this blog up to date with everything I have made a note of in recent weeks. Nothing particularly enthralling, just a collection of random posts to remove them from the to-do list.

As I am writing two blogs, this one and the London Ale Taster, I recently bought an Ipad as I thought it would make blogging more efficient. Wrong ! A great piece of kit, though it is, I now lay in bed most of the time, checking email, following my Twitter and Facebook streams and playing stupid, STUPID games. A real virtual (beer) lifestyle.

But it's worse than that. My beer stock at home is generally for emergencies. A collection of stuff that has crossed my path over the last year or two, bottles picked up on my travels, real and virtual. Given my liking for real ale in the pub, it is for occasional use only or to share with the once-in-a-blue-moon visitor.

I haven't been to the pub for a week and I have moved the beer to the bedroom for better access. My new lifestyle means that my stocks are getting depleted.

I topped stocks up with the latest offering from - a 52 week US beer club (they send 13 bottles every quarter) but the first beers were so good they lasted about a fortnight - perhaps I needed a 365 day beer club.

I also missed the launch of the Cask Ale Report on Monday, having been ever present previously, (I didn't actually have an invite this year but that hasn't stopped me in the past). There is more good news here and the report as usual makes interesting reading. Check out author, Pete Brown's summary on his blog here.

Am I getting past it, is my work here done ? One would hope not but I need a pick-me-up to get me back to the keyboard.

In the coming days I am shaking off the sluggish manner and getting back to it. I can't promise there will be anything interesting to read here, just that there will be something to read.

I am also keen to get back to the pub and have the Sultan beer festival on my radar (held on Friday and Saturday) coupled with a visit to the Trafalgar in the same vicinity, South Wimbledon.

Cheers all.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

London Brewers Alliance Showcase

As promised, the London Brewers Alliance Showcase was held last week and enjoyed by all of the three hundred or so visitors.

I had been asked by the editor of London Drinker magazine to write a piece for the next magazine but the deadline was on the next morning. And so it was with heavy head that I dragged myself to my pc that day having thoroughly enjoyed all of the beers from the London Brewers; the Collaboration Porter, the Kernel Citra IPA and the cask strength Fullers Brewers Reserve being among the highlights for me.

I thought that writing at such a late deadline I would be among the first to share my views of the evening. Wrong of course. The internet was alive the very next day with Blogville taking full advantage of the immediacy of the platform. I think the Twittersphere was buzzing throughout the event but was still humming for days afterwards.

Thus you will still have to wait for a week or so to see the London Drinker article. In the meantime there are plenty who have described the evening more fully and eloquently than I could have

Take a look at Pencil and Spoon, Londoneer, Boggle, Beermerchants, BikesforBeer and BeerViking

You can also find them all in one place on the Facebook link I have inserted alongside.

I would be wrong to claim that I helped organise the event but I was on hand helping out on the day and am fully supporting the London Brewers in their efforts.

One area of query I have is that there have been absolutely no negative comments, not one. In my experience of CAMRA and pub festivals there are normally a few moans and groans and it is important to hear those in order to make future events bigger and better.

If anyone does have anything they wish to raise about the London Brewers Alliance Showcase please leave a comment on the blog here or email me privately to and I will ensure it is passed on.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sheffield Tap comes to London

I have no idea if this is true. It is my own research, rumour, speculation and hearsay based upon an anonymous comment on my London Ale Taster Blog.

Are we about to see a bar in central London packed with beers from Thornbridge, Brewdog, Dark Star and Marble ?

The guys responsible for the Sheffield Tap are hooking up with the Bloomsbury Lanes people, a central London bowling alley, to open The Euston Tap.

This is taken from the Bloomsbury Lanes web-site :

Craft beer anyone? The Euston Tap is set to become a mecca for London’s beer drinkers

The team behind the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes and Fleet River Bakery has joined up with well the known beer aficionado Jamie Hawksworth, to open a unique craft beer house in London.

The partnership has secured the stunning Grade II listed West Lodge in Euston Square, which will feature 20 draft beers from small producers.

The Euston Tap’s objective is not about stocking the wackiest beers from around the globe nor the biggest list, but a mission to bring to London the best draught real ale and craft beer available. Not an easy task, when many of the best independent breweries on the planet don’t export or have limited output.

The bar has its own website which is thin on content at the moment but it is already hooked into my favourites.

Beer lovers from London have done their (tiny) bit towards making the Sheffield Tap the stunning success that it has quickly become. That effort has brought us this reward.

Opening late October - Bring it on !

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pub of the Year - SPBW

The Society for the Preservation of Beer from the Wood (SPBW) allows member to nominate their favorite pubs London pubs for their annual Pub of the Year competition.

Here are the 14 pubs nominated for 2010 :

Blythe Hill Tavern, Catford
Calthorpe arms, Clerkenwell
Cask Pub & Kitchen, Pimlico
Cleveland Arms, Paddington
Dog and Bell, Deptford
Eleanor Arms, Bow
Harp, Covent Garden
Hope, Carshalton
Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell
Old Fountain, City Road
Royal Oak, Borough
Southampton Arms, Kentish Town
Wenlock Arms, Hoxton
Ye Olde Mitre, Holborn

Some old favourites including four past winners but six first time nominations.

As they (we ?) have such a small membership the decision making chain is much shorter than CAMRA for instance and this has the effect that pubs new to the scene or those that have improved greatly in recent months get to the top of the Pub of the Year tree much sooner.

The judging panel are on their mission and the result will be announced in the next few weeks.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Brewdog or Marble ? or Both ?

Busy week this week sees a Brewdog tasting at the Rake on Tuesday at 8pm followed by a meet the Marble brewer at the Cask, Pimlico on Wednesday.

Sometimes you can't get to every event that hits your mailbox and personally I am less enthusiastic about a thimbleful of stupid percent beer poured from a stuffed animal than I am for a bar stacked with ten beers from one of the country's finest breweries.

I have always been well impressed with beers from the Marble Brewery in Manchester and I was blown away with this one last week - found in the Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak (more about this pub later).

Marble 57, so named because it is 5.7%, (or is it the brewer's fifty seventh brew ?) gave me a real Jaipur moment. Hopefully it will be available on Wednesday at the Cask.

Like hops ? Don't miss this.

Ram Rod returns to cask

Wells and Youngs have announced a series of seasonal ales to join their regular portfolio of Young's, Courage and Charles Wells beers.

The first will be a welcome return in cask for Ram Rod, the bottled beer that was legendary in the Young's boozers of a bygone age. The mixture of Ram and Special marked a right of passage for any youthful Young's drinker - a light and bitter for grown ups !

Since the Young's pubs in London have gradually scrubbed up in recent years, bottles of Ram Rod have become scarce. My local refused to stock it as it attracted custom that they were trying to move on. The reason also that they turned the public bar into a Bellini Bar and the gents toilet into a "Ladies Pamper Room"

So I guess that the new cask Ram Rod will not be seen in my neck of the woods.
It should be around during September but also Wetherspoons will have it exclusively in October as part of their beer festival.

Ram Rod is described as a 5% amber beer, with a fruity, vinous and hoppy nose, packed full of flavour. It is full bodied with a fine balance between malt and hops.

I look forward to meeting this old friend again.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

London Brewers Alliance Showcase

Hundreds of you good people have taken a look at the photos that I took at the London brewers Brew day last week and now I assume you are interested in tasting the beer.

The London Porter that was brewed by a collaboration of London brewers has now had its final "hopping" and is ready for cask.

There are only about forty casks which will be split among the brewers so you will be very lucky if you find it on your travels.

One place you can be sure to find this one-off beer is at the London Brewers Showcase which is being held at Brew Wharf in Borough Market on 17th September.

Presented with this rare porter will be 30 or so beers from London breweries, together for the very first time at any event.

There will be a trade session from 4.30 to 6.30 and a public session from 6.30 to 10.30.

It is a one-day event and tickets are going fast so get on board before it's too late.

Further details and tickets can be found here.

The trade session is open to publicans, bars, restaurants, beer writers and bloggers who can apply for tickets here